How to Recognize Self-Adhesive Stamps

As you may know from my previous posts, I have been struggling with removing self-adhesive stamps from paper. I finally figured that hot water seems to work the best for me in removing self-adhesive stamps from paper. Having tried my hand at many many Australian stamps, I share with you a way to recognize these self-adhesive stamps on paper so you can be better prepared for them before you soak them in hot water.

Australia releases many variations of stamps. Typically stamps released in miniature sheets seem to be on gum paper, while others are on self-adhesive paper. The perforation of these stamps is an easy way to recognize them.

  • Gum stamps usually have finer perforation (14) while self-adhesive stamps have more spread-out wavy perforation (11 or 11½). 
  • Check the corners of the stamps. Gum stamps have regular corner perforation while self-adhesive stamps have a more rounded corner with missing perforation in the corner.
  • Gum stamps also have pulled effect to perforations, while self-adhesive stamps have neater separation. 

I have noticed the above differences only in Australian stamps. My guess is these might be similar for other countries too like USA, Great Britain etc.

My First Kiloware

Last month I wrote about Kiloware. Well, the bug bit me and I went ahead and bought kiloware of 1 KG Australian Stamps from eBay. I was quite excited at the prospect of getting so many stamps together and waiting eagerly for my parcel.

When I got my parcel, I couldn’t wait to open it up. The stamps were peaking at my from inside the transparent polythene bag, screaming to be set free.

I opened the bag and immediately spread them all out. Thankfully I used a newspaper to spread them out as I realized later that the stamps had quite a bit of dust and dirt.
After the initial euphoria, I sat staring at pile of stamps wondering how to sort them out. There were many beautiful stamps but I was quite flummoxed at the number of stamps to be sorted, not to mention removing the paper from the stamps.

Not knowing enough about Australian stamps was only compounding the task at hand. And so I have begun first sorting them out. I have started sorting them by their denomination as I believe that will be a good indication of their issue time. I am also sorting the definitive stamps separately, whichever ones I can guess are definitives. The large number of duplicates was a good way to identify definitives.

My euphoria of receiving a large pile of stamps is gone and I am not staring at huge task of sorting out the stamps.

If you are going to buy kiloware, first I would recommend buying a country that you are familiar with. I bought Australia because that was one of the very few countries kiloware on sale. And perhaps it is better to buy smaller lots instead of buying KGs. Also be prepared for getting a LOT of duplicates. That’s what I have, a lot of duplicate Australian stamps. Wanna swap? Drop me a line.

Stamp Magazines and Bulletins

Found these interesting magazines, books and stamp bulletins in in my old collection.

I remember going to Kabbadi/Raddi wala shops (paper scrap dealers) and buying the stamp magazines when I was a kid. These scrap dealers would buy old magazines and books from people by the kilo and one could visit their small shops and buy individual magazines at a fraction of the price. The magazines sold were usually old issues but if you were lucky you could find recent issues. I believe I would have bought these sometime in the 1985-88 time frame. I have a few issues from 1983 of these magazines. I wonder if such magazines are still published.

One of my earliest books about stamp collecting. Unfortunately this booklet doesn’t have a published date but the stamps shown in the booklet are up to 1972-73, so I would guess it would have been published around then (maybe around 1975).

Sometime in 1983 I managed to get on the mailing list of Australian post and got their Stamp Bulletins for about 5 years. These bimonthly Bulletins provided information about stamps, postmarks and other philatelic activities in that period by Australia and Agency Countries (like Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands etc.).

These were free at that time. They are still free and list upcoming Australian stamps, FDC’s and coins and other items for sale in Australia which you can also buy online, through them as well.